International standard

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Standards are produced by many organisations, some for internal usage only, others for use by a groups of people, groups of companies, or a sub-section of an industry. A problem arises when different groups come together, each with a large user-base doing some well-established thing that between them is mutually incompatible.

There are many National Standards, but overall the International_Organization_for_Standardization, based in Geneva, Switzerland has established tens of thousands of standards covering almost every coneivable topic. Most of these are then adopted world-wide replacing all the incompatible 'home-grown' standards. Many of these standards are naturally evolved from those designed in-house within an industry, or by a particular country, whilst others have been built from scratch by groups of experts who sit on various Technical Committees.

The ISO Web Site describes more of the work that ISO does.

Many ISO Standards are used within the Internet... the most well-known being ISO_8601, ISO_3166 ISO_4217 and ISO_8859.